Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 Greater Washington Board Of Trade Welcome Back Team Luncheon

UPDATE: Audio File Link from the Q & A below now working.

Jim Riggleman, Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo, Jim Dinegar
Photo Courtesy Of The Greater Washington Board Of Trade

"Putting my reporter’s cap on for a moment," stated Jim Dinegar, President & CEO of The Greater Washington Board Of Trade.  "A reporter asked Jayson Werth about winning two games in a row. ‘It’s quite a streak.” And Jayson said: ‘What streak?’ And the reporter said: ‘Well, two in a row for The Nationals, that’s quite a streak.’ And Jayson apparently glared at him."

From the audience Jayson Werth is heard commenting: “BRRRR!!” (laughter)
"And Jayson said (to the reporter)," continued Dinegar. "'There’s no streak. There is no settling for mediocrity.'  That comment about what Jayson Werth said to the reporter was really indicative, and you know, how they (The Nationals) are not settling for mediocrity. They are policing each other. They are pushing each other and not settling for anything less than high expectations. God, that’s the business world, frankly, But it’s also what you do expect from a competitive team.”
For the second April in the row, The Greater Washington Board Of Trade held a Welcome Back Washington Nationals Team Luncheon in downtown, Washington, D.C. Held to benefit The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, yesterday's event at The Capital Hilton found the majority of the front office, management and players from Our Washington Nationals in attendance.
Gary Tabach (Chair GWBOT), Jim Riggleman, Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo, Jim Dinegar
Courtesy Of The Greater Washington Board Of Trade
"The big part for this lunch, now the second year in a row, is that we help make connections to the people of the team so that Mark Lerner is not some faceless guy," stated Mr. Dinegar. "That Mike Rizzo is not some unapproachable person and that you can have lunch with Jayson Werth or sit with Ian Desmond or Michael Morse and hear what they have to say. And it’s fun and then, as businessmen and women, get to go out there and cheer for them.”

Since Major League Baseball's return to the Nation's Capital, The Greater Washington Board Of Trade has played a key role in recognizing that any investment in baseball would be an investment in jobs and neighborhood revitalization. The Board Of Trade was involved in securing the development of Nationals Park and hosts the Welcome Back Luncheon to wish the team success in their new season. After a brief reception, patrons are invited into the ballroom for a sit down lunch. The entire 25-man roster, coaches and managers are introduced individually. Every table of eight guests gets one player or coach to share time with for discussion.
"I had a table full of people that were talking to Michael Morse about his approach in going after Cliff Lee of The Phillies tonight. Well that's not just insider stuff, it's fun. But it makes this a personal connection. So now, I will have eight other people sitting at my table cheering for Michael Morse tonight and throughout the season. And table by table, those are the types of connections this type of event creates." 
"And there are very limited, maybe no opportunities, to have that connection unless you run into Drew Storen in the supermarket. Well, that's not the same. You've both been to the Dream Foundation Gala--it's a world class event. They do a great job, but you are not sitting with six or seven of your peers--or maybe some that are not all that familiar with baseball. But this is our team and we want our business partners to understand and embrace that. And I would also have to say that putting a good product on the field means all the business in the world. You don't want to go out and root for a team that is losing. But they are rooting for a team that beat Philadelphia the other night, took them to the bottom of the 9th yesterday (Wednesday) and, probably, will do quite well tonight--that's a competitive team."
Dream Foundation Silent Auction
Judy Lerner, Sohna & Jason Marquis (Marquis Our Table Host)
The Greater Washington Board Of Trade's Welcome Back Washington Nationals Team Luncheon is set up exclusively for the business community. Including team and front office personnel, approximately 350 people attended yesterday's two hour event. PNC Bank returned as a sponsor for the second year in a row. For 2011, they were joined by Nemacolin Woodlands Resorts, Comcast Spotlight, Comcast Business Class and Capital Business
Luncheon Schedule, Nemacolin Sponsored Black Bat
Magnet Schedule, Comcast Notebook, Luncheon Schedule, Nats Program From Goodie Bag
Nemacolin providing the gift of the day, a black baseball bat emblazoned with "Greater Washington Board Of Trade's Welcome Back Team Luncheon" and the logos for the five key business sponsors. "We may well have run out of good ideas on surprises." chuckled Mr. Dinegar. "Last year we had the ball, this year the bat with the silver marker. You know everyone will have that on display in their office or at home and, I’m no fool and I know our sponsors--it will be clear where you got it. That’s always nice. Branding is a big deal.”
After lunch was served, Mr. Dinegar introduced Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Chair of The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation who spoke on the Foundation's core initiatives, invited those in attendance to attend the upcoming Dream Foundation Gala set for June 18th at the Gaylord National Resort. And noted that sometime over the next two months, The Dream Foundation is hoping to break ground on the long awaited D.C. Youth Baseball Academy in Fort Dupont Park in N.E. Washington. Then, Mr. Dinegar was joined on stage by Principal Owner Mark Lerner, Our General Manager Mike Rizzo and Manager Jim Riggleman for nearly 30 minutes to discuss the team's effort both on and off the field of play.

Here is the audio link to that very enjoyable Q & A. 
The early success of the Welcome Back Luncheon has also brought concerns from the Greater Washington Board Of Trade as to where to take this now popular yearly event in the future. The question:  Make it bigger? Or keep it small and more intimate?

Jim Dinegar: "Strategically, we are in discussions with The Nationals. There are discussions now about whether we want this to be for 500 or 600 people. What happens then is that not everyone gets a player at their table. Not everyone gets a radio or TV personality or a coach or the manager. And that would possibly change the feel of the event. On the other hand, if there is more we can do to support the Dream Foundation, it’s not going to be the raising of ticket prices. (The Board of Trade currently underwrites the luncheon)."

"I think we will go after more sponsorship dollars from the sponsors we already have. They love this--PNC Bank and Nemacolin and the rest.  Then the ticket prices can be provided to the Foundation (as donation checks) because we have at that point, hopefully, the event itself covered--350 people, including the team. You are either in or you are out. And I think that is a much more prudent way to do it without having the equivalent of Fanfest over lunch because that’s a completely different dynamic and not what our event is all about."

P.S. Another funny moment in the Q & A approximately eight minutes into the discussion. Mike Rizzo is talking about paying significant dollars to land Jayson Werth as a free agent, signing Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, as well as, putting up cash to sign other top talent in Washington's ever changing farm system when Mr. Dinegar comments:

Dinegar: "I will quickly interject. The median household incomes within the United States, three of those counties are within the Washington area. Because of your signings, five of the top counties in the area are from Washington. (Rizzo busts out laughing)

Rizzo: “Exactly. But that’s not the first time I’ve heard that joke. So thank you.”
Dinegar: “You are welcome.” (more laughter)
Rizzo (rather poignantly): "Moral victories no longer excite us in the clubhouse. To play a good game and come up short by one run against Roy Halladay no longer excites us. Those are things I could not have said in the past.”
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AVM221 said...

Do you have any inside information on whether or not today's game will be postponed? It is pouring in Arlington and the forecast is for more of the same.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Game cancelled

Screech's Best Friend said...

Doubleheader tomorrow starting at 1:35pm

AVM221 said...

Thanks, any more details? Today's game played tomorrow night?